an effective treatment

successful, effectual, potent, powerful; helpful, beneficial, advantageous, valuable, useful; formal efficacious
ineffective, weak

a more effective argument

convincing, compelling, strong, forceful, potent, weighty, sound, valid; impressive, persuasive, plausible, credible, authoritative; logical, reasonable, lucid, coherent, cogent, eloquent; formal efficacious

the new law will become effective next week

operative, in force, in effect; valid, official, lawful, legal, binding; Law effectual

Korea was under effective Japanese control

virtual, practical, essential, actual, implicit, tacit
effective, effectual, efficacious, efficient
All of these adjectives mean producing or capable of producing a result, but they are not interchangeable. Use effective when you want to describe something that produces a definite effect or result (an effective speaker who was able to rally the crowd's support) and efficacious when it produces the desired effect or result (an efficacious remedy that cured her almost immediately). If something produces the desired effect or result in a decisive manner, use effectual (an effectual recommendation that got him the job), an adjective that is often employed when looking back after an event is over (an effectual strategy that finally turned the tide in their favor). Reserve the use of efficient for when you want to imply skill and economy of energy in producing the desired result (so efficient in her management of the company that layoffs were not necessary). When applied to people, efficient means capable or competent (an efficient homemaker) and places less emphasis on the achievement of results and more on the skills involved.

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • effective — ef‧fec‧tive [ɪˈfektɪv] adjective 1. working well and producing the result or effect that was wanted or intended: • The company mounted a very effective publicity campaign. • The 7% increase in sales shows that the company has become more… …   Financial and business terms

  • effective — effective, effectual, efficient, efficacious all mean producing or capable of producing a result or results, but they are not freely interchangeable in idiomatic use. Effective emphasizes the actual production of an effect or the power to produce …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • effective — ef·fec·tive adj 1: producing a desired effect an effective revocation of the contract 2: capable of bringing about an effect effective assistance of counsel see also ineffective assistance o …   Law dictionary

  • effective — effective, effectual, efficacious, efficient 1. All these words mean ‘having an effect’ of some kind, but with different applications and shades of meaning. Effective means ‘having a definite or desired effect’ that is actual rather than… …   Modern English usage

  • Effective — Ef*fect ive, a. [L. effectivus: cf. F. effectif.] Having the power to produce an effect or effects; producing a decided or decisive effect; efficient; serviceable; operative; as, an effective force, remedy, speech; the effective men in a regiment …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Effective — Ef*fect ive, n. 1. That which produces a given effect; a cause. Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] 2. One who is capable of active service. [1913 Webster] He assembled his army 20,000 effectives at Corinth. W. P. Johnston. [1913 Webster] 3. [F. effectif …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • effective — [e fek′tiv, ifek′tiv; ] often [ ēfek′tiv, əfek′tiv] adj. [ME & OFr effectif < L effectivus] 1. having an effect; producing a result 2. producing a definite or desired result; efficient 3. in effect; operative; active 4. actual, not merely… …   English World dictionary

  • effective — late 14c., from Fr. effectif, from L. effectivus productive, effective, from effect , stem of efficere (see EFFECT (Cf. effect)). Effectively in the sense of actually is attested by 1650s. Related: Effectivity …   Etymology dictionary

  • effective — [adj1] productive, persuasive able, active, adequate, capable, cogent, compelling, competent, convincing, direct, effectual, efficacious, efficient, emphatic, energetic, forceful, forcible, having lead in pencil*, impressive, live, moving, on the …   New thesaurus

  • effective — ► ADJECTIVE 1) producing a desired or intended result. 2) (of a law or policy) operative. 3) existing in fact, though not formally acknowledged as such. DERIVATIVES effectively adverb effectiveness noun effectivity noun …   English terms dictionary

  • effective */*/*/ — UK [ɪˈfektɪv] / US adjective 1) a) someone or something that is effective works well and produces the result that was intended You need more effective communication within the organization. Humour is often far more effective than shouting. The… …   English dictionary

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